by Quek Yoke Ling
Worshipped as gods in ancient Egypt, cats have an infamous reputation of being aloof and haughty. Today, they are a common sight in Singapore’s heartlands – but how well do we really know our furry friends? Here are some interesting tidbits about neko-chan (cat in Japanese):
The nose says it all
The secret to identifying a cat lies in its nose – although all cat noses may appear the same, that isn’t actually the case! Each nose, in fact, has a unique pattern comprising different bumps and ridges.
A cat’s nose is also indicative of its health status: while a dry nose may worry some owners, it’s normal for variation of wetness to occur throughout the day. What constitutes concern would be coloured (e.g. yellow or green) mucus coming out of your cat’s nose – he or she may have contracted a respiratory disease, and should be taken to see the vet immediately.
Grooming: the feline essential
Fun fact: cats spend 30% to 50% of the day just on cleaning themselves. Cats groom themselves, other cats, and their “human slaves” – they learned the action through mimicking their mothers, who licked them shortly after they were born (to stimulate their breathing). Apart from maintaining cleanliness, this act of self-grooming is also useful for reasons like cleansing injuries and masking the cat’s scent from predators. Excessive grooming, however, may point towards physical discomfort or a deeper issue such as anxiety.
When a cat licks your face or hand, it is usually his/her sign of affection towards you. Consider yourself lucky to be chosen!
Oh snap, who’s that!
“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who on earth is this oddball?” Cats, apparently, are unable to recognize themselves, which would explain the phenomena of “cat in the mirror”. When cats see their own reflection, they think it’s another cat and tend to react by hissing and puffing themselves up, in an act of self-defense.
If it fits, I sits
Bemusing as a cat’s obsession with boxes and closets can be, there’s actually a reason why kitties consciously seek out small, enclosed spaces. In the wild, such spaces serve both as hiding places from predators and somewhere cats could subtly stalk their prey. The sense of safety and security a box provides to a cat, essentially, is next-to-none.
Ain’t no cat got a fear of heights
Just because cats appear elegant doesn’t mean they always land on their feet when they fall. More often than not, however, all their paws end up touching the ground – this is because cats can sense when they’re falling, and swiftly adjust their bodies accordingly for a safe landing. Clever creatures.